Monday, October 26, 2015

October Updates

The waiting continues... but with a few more milestones checked off our list.  Our paperwork 'challenges' were resolved by our agency (aided by the prayers of many, many faithful friends) and our Article 5 packet was dropped off at the consulate.  Agency reps picked it up Tuesday, October 22 and delivered it to the Chinese bureaucracy in charge of adoptions.  So now we wait for China to issue our approval to travel!  Someone in the adoption world created this flow chart to help friends and family understand the various steps in the process.  Its not perfect, and honestly it kind of makes my head hurt (since my brain apparently does not understand flow charts), but many have found it helpful. We are waiting on step 15! (oh and the mom looks too together to be accurate- her hair should be messed up or something...)

Some other fun news- my friends threw an amazing adoption shower to celebrate our little girl!  It was a very sweet evening of fun craft projects and a time of prayer for every aspect of our adoption.  I was so touched by the support shown to our family- really, throughout the whole process- but that night it was a tangible thing and it was wonderful to say thank you face to face to so many.  I now have a dedicated bin of hair bows in my house.  And the boys have stayed far away from it so far!  

(only picture of the night... we failed...)

With our travel approval looming, the sense of urgency to get ready has amped up.  We've made two recent trips to IKEA to resolve storage issues in our house (bunk bed! closet space!) and buy additional bedding.  Austin has been child proofing the kitchen (something we didn't do with the boys but THREE kids I think warrants some extra precautions).  

I also took a ridiculously long list to Walmart and basically bought an entire pharmacy's worth of OTC meds to take with us.  And I kind of feel like I'm rolling the dice a bit and not getting another ridiculously long list of prescription meds filled by our doctor...  

So nesting we will be!  The other major thing I'm doing- something I swore would NEVER happen in my life- Christmas shopping in October!  (my mother in law and Aunt GiGi are probably rolling their eyes about now)  Yes its true- I have a good chunk of Christmas shopping done and stashed away (hoping I remember where when it comes time to wrap everything...) in anticipation of being a little overwhelmed come November and December.  Hopefully not, but just in case.  

Our Chinese Visa arrived- so once we get travel approval, we are ready to go! (and check out the beginning of my to-do list)

So still, much to do.  Namely, a name.  We are still trying to find the perfect name for our loved little one.  Pray for that- ok?  

And finally, I haven't been stressed about money AT ALL during this adoption.  We were totally overwhelmed with the costs of adoption at the very beginning, but we decided its worth it- and a thousand times over, she is worth it- and we haven't missed a payment or had to delay a single step of the process for financial reasons.  There have been some challenges and lots of crock pot meals and slightly out of style outfits for the boys and me (Austin claims his style is timeless) but again, WORTH IT!  And a big part of that has been your support, your prayers, and your donations to our family.  We do still have some expenses coming up- mainly travel related things and final adoption proceedings that we need to pay for in China.  If you'd like to contribute to that, check out our youcaring page below (and please feel free to share our page and our story with your friends!).  

Another way you can help is by donating items for us to bring to our daughter's orphanage.  I have a list of needed items that we would like to carry over.  I know from experience how tight money can be in a state-operated orphanage.  These are simple, mainly inexpensive items that would go a long way in helping the Ayis (nannies) provide care for the babies and children.  If you'd like to purchase any of these items, please contact me and I'll arrange picking them up.  Thank you!

diaper rash cream
antibiotic cream

Thanks again- next update will be all about travel!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

How we wait

Adoption and waiting. They go together. We wait at different times of our lives- we wait for college acceptance letters, for a marriage proposal, for the birth of a baby, for a job offer. I've gone through different seasons of waiting in my life but none of those other times have included this deep, heart ache that is tied to the wait. It's is so profound that I have a physical reaction if I allow myself to go there. As a person specialized in compartmentalizing my emotions for the sake of rational problem solving, this physical reaction has snuck up on me a couple times.

Yesterday was a day of highs so high and lows so low it's a wonder I was able to sleep at all last night.  Or perhaps not- the exhaustion of it all could have been a factor too. In a process of ever- complicated steps, we are coming to the end of this adoption.  I can't hardly believe it. Yesterday, the last day of September, I awoke to an email containing two vital pieces of information needed to complete one of these complicated steps. As China is approaching a week of holidays, I had expected to see no progress until after everyone returned to work.  As I took a quick shower, attempting to ready myself for the day before the boys completely destroyed the house, I calculated the timing of the next steps for our adoption and realized that with this new email, there was a slim chance of moving forward before the Chinese holiday. Grabbing a towel and shooing boys away, I sent a quick message to confirm this realization. An almost instant response- "send everything right away." I threw on clothes, turned on a cartoon, tossed bowls of Cheerios and cups of milk on the table, and delved into a world of visa applications and questions of national security ("have you even knowingly or unknowingly aided the communist party?" And " are you knowingly entering the United States to commit acts of treason?"). Visa application completed, various immigration approvals collected, and one email with a bunch of very important attachments written and flying through cyberspace to very important people on the other side of the world who have the power to move our first date with our daughter closer on the calendar.  It was a rush- that slim glimmer of hope, the act of 'doing something' and making something happen, the feeling of accomplishment that I had done everything in my power... And then the other shoe dropped.

I received a message that there was an issue with our daughter's file. Discrepancies in wording and translation hurdles.  And nothing could be done until these discrepancies were resolved. I exchanged text messages, Facebook messages, and one depressing phone call that basically confirmed that everything had come to a screeching halt. We would have to wait for the Chinese holiday to pass, but even after everyone had returned to work, the timeline was still unknown.  They had a plan but could not predict it's likelihood at success.

And so we wait. With aching heart, I wait. And I know my pain is only a fraction of the pain my little one experiences each day that passes without belonging and knowing love. Austin is steadfast in his wait- "it'll take as long as it takes." Today is October 1st- a day I was looking forward to telling the boys, "next month we finally meet your sister." But I can't. That realization finally manifested itself in that physical reaction I was talking about- as various people reached out to me yesterday I heard my voice shake and watched my hands tremble. I hung up the phone and grabbed a blanket to fight off the intense shivering. It was 90 degrees. I do not wait well.

But maybe I am learning something in this wait. In the past, my response would be one of anger. Anger at the situation, at people who should have caught this 'discrepancy' earlier, at a country that throws away children, and at a system that makes them wait.  And at myself for not doing enough and being enough.  I am not angry today. Aching, disappointed, sad... But not angry. I immediately felt the urgency to pray- and to ask others to do so.  A quick Facebook post rallied our troops.  Corbin and Leo prayed for their baby sister to come home soon (and for mom to bring them yummy Chinese treats) right in the car.  And dear friends who have walked this path before us, gave me perspective- "we are excited to see how God will work."  I wasn't excited  initially but that truth has sunk in overnight. This is a mighty obstacle, requiring painful waiting, but we have a mightier God who delights in showing up and showing off His heart for the lost.

I can't promise that I will always have the happy excitement when we are faced with the hard. But I will learn to wait- with my heart ache- for the One who will wipe away every tear to act. And I will look forward in eager anticipation of His mighty work.